[Short Story] The life of a tree

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Simone’s house is very old. Her grandfather built the house when he was a young man. When the house was finished, Simone’s grandfather asked a girl from his village to marry him.

Simone’s father grew up in this house. Many years later, Simone came to live in this little old house.

Simone has a wonderful tree in her garden. It is a camellia. Her grandfather planted it. So it is more than 60 years old. Every year, at the end of winter, it is covered in beautiful pink flowers.

But one year, the weather is very bad. The wind is very strong. The old tree falls down. It is lying on the ground. Simone is very sad. She feels empty.

The camellia was a memory of my family, and now it is gone.

Simone is in the garden. She is looking at the dead tree. She is crying.

“Excuse me”.

Simone is surprised. There is an old man in her garden. She didn’t see him come into the garden.

“What! Who are you?”

“I was a friend of your father. I remember this house. I came here to play when I was a young boy. Why are you sad?”

Simone shows the old man the tree. “My grandfather planted this tree. And now it is dead.”

The old man laughs. “Dead? Why do you think this tree is dead?”

Simone thinks the old man is crazy. “It fell down! There will be no more flowers. It is only a memory.”

The old man smiles. “I am in this village to visit my grandson. I am tired. Can we sit down? Can you give me a cup of tea?”

“Oh, sorry. Of course. Please come into the house.”

“No. I like to be outside. Can you bring me a cup of tea here?”

Simone points to a table and chairs in the garden.

“Please sit there,” says Simone.

The old man sits down. Simone goes into the house and makes tea. She carries the tea out to the garden.

She gives the old man a cup of tea. Simone has a cup of tea too. They sit in the garden, but Simone is not happy. They can see the dead tree. She is very sad.

The old man drinks his tea. Then he asks, “What will you do with this tree?”

“I don’t know,” says Simone. “Maybe I will pay some men to take the dead tree away.”

“Oh,” says the old man. “What will the men do with the tree?”

“I don’t know,” says Simone.

The old man smiles.

“I think you should pay some men to come and cut the tree up into firewood.”

“But I don’t have a fireplace.”

“That’s OK. I’m sure you can find some people who need firewood. Maybe some people who have no money and are cold this winter. You should cut all the leaves and small branches up very small and put them on your garden. They will stop weeds from growing. In time they will break down and feed the earth. The earth gave you that tree, so you should give something back. And finally.” The old man stops talking.

“Finally?” asks Simone. “What is the last thing I should do?”

“The old man laughs. “Plant another tree of course!”

He stands up. “I must go now,” he says. “But remember. Nature is a circle. Trees grow and die. New trees grow. This is normal. You should be happy because your tree was beautiful, you have good memories.  And now this old dead tree will help you do some good in the world.”